Media buyer turns a new page

Zenith Optimedia has implemented a Speedscan client service portal to simplify the invoice delivery process for media buyers.

Puvanan Thuraisamy is finance director of ZenithOptimedia (ZO) and Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG), which together form one of the largest media buying organisations in Australia.

A major challenge facing the business was the cost and delays in getting invoicing and supporting documents (tearsheets) to clients. A media buyer acts on behalf of its clients in purchasing advertising space in magazines and other media. In the past, it would need to send a physical “tearout” of the advertisement from a publication along with a physical copy of the invoice, as proof of placement.

As the magazine industry has evolved towards an end-to-end digital delivery of materials, this was an inefficient hangover from the analogue past.

“Things could get lost in the mail or clients would call up and look for another copy of the tearsheet and someone would have to go hunting for it. It was very inefficient and impractical,” said Puvanan. In 2008 ZenithOptimedia began looking for a digital alternative, eventually settling on a hosted solution outsourced to Australia’s Speedscan.

“We are not in the business of IT, so we decided to get an off-the-shelf system. However we also chose a system that was quite flexible and could be tailored to our demands,” said Puvanan. The Speedscan SpeedSEND platform was customised and adapted to provide an automated workflow for supply of invoices and tearsheet images, and while initially developed for one major client, ZO/SMG soon expanded the scope to encompass all group customers.

The solution has now evolved into a customer self service portal, providing clients the ability to revisit the site and retrieve invoices and tearsheets on demand, without involving ZO/SMG staff intervention. The process begins when a publisher provides a CD or FTP copy containing a digital version of the publication. In some cases an analogue copy of the magazine needs to be scanned, although this is less frequent nowadays. Individual images of the advertisements are manually renamed in accord with the unique invoice number and uploaded via FTP on a daily basis.

Customer contact details are loaded into the system via web admin module, and an advertiser gets a secure email notification when a new invoice and the supporting document is available for viewing. Advanced business rules allow invoices/statements to be sent without supporting documents if required.

Customers click through to the branded portal to be presented with a simple and effective list of all invoices/statements and supporting documents for the period. A further click can show them an archive of all their invoices/statements and tearsheets. Powerful back end reporting allows ZO/SMG to know when email delivery problems have prevented clients getting their invoices or opening them. Pre-emptive action often resolves delays before they occur.

Speedscan CEO Mark Josman said, “Puvanan and his team have been incredibly creative and committed in their approach to implementing SpeedSEND across their business and we are very pleased to have been a part of their solution.

“We are also excited by the response we are getting to our SpeedSEND solution from organisations looking to cost effectively and efficiently deliver invoices/statements together with the supporting documents such as Proof of Delivery dockets to their customers, while getting all the additional backend management information to proactively manage the accounts receivable function.”

For more information contact Speedscan on 1300 937 226 or visit